Alex Norris grew up in Columbia, Md., where he began studying music at the age of 9. After graduating high school he received a scholarship to the Peabody Conservatory to study trumpet. He graduated from the Conservatory in 1990.
In 1992, Norris moved to New York City to pursue a career as a jazz trumpeter. Here, he found work with the Village Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Toshiko Akiyoshi’s Jazz Orchestra, and Maria Schneider’s Band. From 1994-1998, Norris was a member of Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead, becoming musical director in 1998; the final year of Carter’s life. Norris has also performed and recorded extensively in the bands of Lonnie Plaxico, Jason Lindner, and with Ralph Irizarry’s Timbalaye.
Norris has worked with many noted jazz musicians such as Slide Hampton, Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau, Chris Potter, Carl Allen, John Patitucci, Mulgrew Miller, and Brian Blade. Norris is very active in Afro-Cuban jazz, as well, having worked with Andy and Jerry González, Manny Oquendo y Libre, Poncho Sanchez, and Chico O’Farril. Additionally, in the Pop/R&B world, Norris has toured and/or recorded with Incognito, US3, Philip Bailey, Steve Winwood, Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine, Jon Secada, and Dr. John.
In 1995, Norris received a master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music. He has served on the music faculties at the New School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, Towson University, and the City College of New York. In 2007, Norris received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Miami Frost School of Music. From 2005-2008, Norris was also a faculty member of the University of Miami Frost School of Music.
Residing in New York City, Norris performs all over the world with his own jazz group and with the Ron Carter’s Great Big Band, the Mingus Big Band, Pat Martino, Alan Ferber’s Big Band, Kyle Eastwood, Miguel Zenon, Amina Figarova, Michele Rosewoman, and many other jazz and Latin jazz artists. He performs regularly at top New York Jazz Clubs such as the Jazz Standard, Smalls, Smoke, Birdland, the Jazz Gallery, and the Blue Note.
Norris has a new CD entitled “Alex Norris Organ Quartet- Extension Deadline” on Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records. He also has a CD on the Fresh Sounds/New Talent label: “Alex Norris Quintet- A New Beginning”. As a sideman, Norris has recorded on over 80 CD’s; several of them for labels such as Blue Note, Verve, Impulse, Steeplechase, and Sunnyside. Among his sideman recordings, three have been nominated for Grammy Awards.
Norris has given Jazz clinics at the Eastman School of Music (2009 & 2013), the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, the Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts, the New World School for the Arts (Miami), Florida Community College in Jacksonville, Morehead University, Virginia Tech University, New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, Howard Community College, Maryland Trumpet Day 2011, Maryland Summer Jazz, Baltimore School for the Arts, and the Tri-C Jazz Festival in Cleveland, OH.
Several of Norris’s Latin jazz compositions are published by 3-2 Music in Fresno, CA. Additionally, he has a video masterclass available on www.mymusicmasterclass.com.
Alex Norris Organ Quartet: Extension Deadline